‘Livable cities’ forum opens

As some of the best minds in planning “resilient” and “livable” cities convene in Manila this week for an international forum on urban challenges, a design and urban planning competition will be launched to get city planners across the Philippines to better plan for climate change and natural disasters.

Asia Society and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) have convened leading global experts beginning March 11 up to the 13th for the 2nd Annual Pacific Cities Sustainability Initiative (PCSI) Forum.

This is an invitation-only group of urban sustainability experts from across the world who will share best practices and new approaches for creating livable, sustainable cities across the Pacific that should survive and thrive in the face of climate change and extreme weather.

The urgency of preparing for climate change is specially significant in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and the reconstruction efforts, top officials of Asia Society and ULI said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Aside from rapid urbanization, congestion, the need for mass transit, water resources, power, better law enforcement and public services, the groups believe that cities now face the challenge of a climate-defined future.

Forum speakers include Secretary Panfilo Lacson, the presidential assistant for recovery and rehabilitation; Robert Parker, former mayor of Christchurch, New Zealand, and Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of the Presidential Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight in Indonesia.

“Despite the geographical vulnerability and environmental challenges in this age of climate change, the Asia Pacific region has never been more resilient,” said Carlos Rufino, chair of ULI Philippines.

“Everyone here in the Philippines is privileged to host this prominent conference given our own most recent experience with Typhoon Haiyan. We are confident the PCSI Forum will serve as a platform for key leaders to engage in constructive dialogue, share valuable experiences and practical solutions to promote international partnerships, help each other become more prepared and plan together sustainable and resilient communities for the next generations,” Rufino said.

Doris Magsaysay-Ho, chair of the Asia Society Philippine Foundation, said the forum would play a key role in the upcoming “Livable and Resilient Cities Competition” organised by the Apec (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) 2015 National Organizing Council, the National Competitiveness Board and the World Wildlife Fund, supported with a grant from USAID.

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